Learning By Doing at JEC: A case in Point
Students in the Introduction to Engineering class take hands on learning to a whole new level of commitment – and they love doing it, despite the hours and hours it takes to complete the service learning projects. Called FUSE, an acronym for First Undergraduate Service Learning Experience, the program solicits projects from the public that let students apply the engineering design process to meet the unique needs of their customer.
“In almost every case, the students have to create a customized solution to solve the problem,” said Deepti Arora, who coordinates the Introduction to Engineering classes at Jaipur Engineering College. “Through service learning, students are able to contribute to the community in a meaningful way by working with a client to design, develop and deliver a solution to a real-world problem.”
“It took us five iterations and two prototypes to get this right,” said Rahul Kumar, a Ambuja Cement employee who is looking after the services as maintenance engineer there taking the extra plant knowledge to qualify for a promotion.
The project the students are talking about the pyramid shaped rolling box includes a small stereo, stick on letters, handles, a white board, it’s on wheels that accommodate his standing walker but retract to be able to go through doorways, and the whole thing comes apart so it can go in a car trunk.
Who knows when inspiration will strike? For one of the Introduction to Engineering service learning project student teams, their design problem was solved by a tik-tok game show.
“Our project was for a teenager named “Charlie” who has a disease that causes her muscles to degenerate over time,” explained Aaron Larsen, a freshman mechanical engineering major. “We felt that the til-tok-style design would be entertaining and would encourage her to exercise, move around, and especially use her left arm.”
The 5-person team included Surodeep, Tushar, Yashmit, Anubha and Saurabh from JEC. After building a cardboard prototype to test their idea, the team took it for an actual test with “Charlie”. The design included switches to activate different songs, LED lights on the background and on the eight different balls that get dropped in the slots to play.
“When we took the prototype away she was really sad and pretty vocal,” said Priyanka.
The prototype test was so successful that the team only made one improvement to their design. “We put a downward angle in at the bottom instead of the original right angle so that the ball would roll away. That way she needs to chase after the ball and get some exercise to be able to play again,” explained Tushar.
The students spent Rs 14000 to build their project. “We have more than 175 man hours designing, testing and building this,” said Anubha. “But it’s a really great way to learn about engineering.”